What are eye floaters? If you see small spots in your field of vision, chances are, you’re experiencing eye floaters. Are you wondering if they’re harmful or if you need treatment? The first place to start is going to your eye doctor. Below is some information on what are eye floaters, its causes, symptoms, and treatment.
What Are Eye Floaters And How Can It Be Treated?
Eye Floaters Defined
Eye floaters are small, irregular spots or dark shapes you notice drifting through your field of vision. If you look at an object or area that’s bright like a blue sky or white paper, they may stand out. While they may be annoying, they shouldn’t interfere with your ability to see.
If you’re experiencing a large floater, it may cause a superficial shadow over your vision. Usually, this occurs only in some forms of light. In most cases, people learn to ignore floaters and can live with them. As time passes, they seem to notice them less. It’s rare a floater will need treatment, but it does happen.
Causes of Eye Floaters
These are the common causes of eye floaters to watch out for:
- Age – The normal aging process can cause eye floaters when the vitreous gel starts shrinking. Most vitreous floaters relate to aging and occur because the vitreous gel slowly liquefies.
- Eye Trauma – Eye trauma may cause floaters and spots. You may have floaters that stay in your eye for a while before they finally begin to disappear.
- Diabetes – Diabetics commonly have floaters. Since their condition can cause a series of weak eye capillaries to leak blood, it can form deposits into the vitreous as floaters.
- Near-Sightedness – You can develop floaters if you’re nearsighted.Being nearsighted also puts you at risk of a retinal detachment or retinal tear as well.
- Other Risk Factors – If you have chronic yeast infections (candidiasis), have eye inflammation (uveitis) or have had intraocular surgery recently, you’re also at risk for developing eye floaters. Allergies can also play a part. The biggest risk factor for developing new vitreous floaters is aging.
Symptoms of Eye Floaters
Symptoms of eye floaters may include:
- Transparent, lumpy strings of floating material or dark specks
- Spots that move with eye movement — they quickly move out of your field of vision when you try looking at them.
- Spots that become more noticeable when looking at a white wall, blue sky or other plain, bright background
- Weird looking spots that settle down eventually and move out of your field of vision
Obviously, the best way to tell if you have eye floaters is to have a professional eye specialist look at your eyes.
Getting Rid of Eye Floaters
Most eye floaters don’t require treatment. Eye floaters can irritate you and it can take time to adjust to them. But, over time, you may notice them less often and will eventually ignore them. If they impair your vision, which is rare, you’ll want to see your eye doctor who can recommend treatment.
- Laser – An ophthalmologist will disrupt the floaters using a laser. They aim this laser directly at the vitreous floaters, breaking them up so they’re less noticeable. Most individuals report improved vision after this treatment; some notice no difference or very little. There is some risk to laser therapy. If aimed incorrectly, it could damage your retina.
- Surgery – An ophthalmologist will perform surgery. The procedure involves making a small incision to remove your vitreous. They then replace it with a certain type of solution that helps maintain the shape of your eye. Surgery doesn’t keep new floaters from developing and it might not remove all existing floaters. Risks of this surgery may include retinal tears and bleeding. Talk with your ophthalmologist before you try any eye floaters natural remedy.
Here’s an animated video by Michael Mauser posted by TED-Ed explaining what are eye floaters:
If you suspect you have eye floaters, have an eye specialist like an ophthalmologist or optometrist perform an eye exam. Keep in mind, if you notice a sudden appearance of a large number of floaters, it could mean you have a detached retina in your eye or another serious problem. This is particularly the case if accompanied by visual disturbances like flashes of light. Don’t hesitate to have your eyes checked by your eye doctor if this occurs.
Do you have eye floaters that may require treatment? Let us know in the comments section below.